The amount of hours of free time that population spends online on doing valuable things on the web is called ‘cognitive surplus’. Professor Clay Shirky defines the term ‘cognitive surplus’ and he talks about the communities that collaborate in order to achieve a common goal.
Community has a different meaning by the word crowd. The crowd is everyone online. A community is pulled from the crowd. It’s everyone with whom you have a working relationship. There are different types of communities, for instance there are communities of people that share a transformative purpose and communities of passionate people willing to donate their time to projects they truly believe in.
These online communities are not affected by Geography as Internet removes these barriers. Technology now gives you access to big brains no matter where they live. The removal of geographic barriers allow entrepreneurs to go from A to B faster than ever before.
In addition, anonymity through internet allows people to share deeply meaningful information that in other circumstances wouldn’t due to religion, appearance, habits, color and so on.
Liberation from proximity and prejudice increases access to new ideas.
By building your community you can easily reach any expert anywhere in the world and with the help of technology and crowdfunding your business can become a success story in no time. In communities new possibilities of communication permit collaborative structures that would have been unthinkable just a decade ago.
The best part is that these communities after their creation are self-organizing. If the community has been set up in the right way, then growth happens without the need for much intervention or intensive capital spends. The driving force behind all of these novel collaborative structures, is absolutely a value proposition, as technology expert and author Joshua Klein calls reputation economics.
The idea is simple and is based on the fact that all of us now have online reputation. We are building our reputation online and this reputation actually matters because it has real- world consequences. Communities offer the opportunity for building a good reputation as well and this means that people who join communities do not do it for ready available money. In many cases, mutually beneficial non financial trades can more value for the participants.
But what are the reasons people participate in communities? Firstly, people join communities because they reinforcing the sense of identity. Secondly, they become members of communities for the conversation. So make sure that the community you intent to build give the space to members to interact. During the first steps of the community, this interaction must be organized and promoted. To promote any kind of interaction means that you are a social person who loves to promote communication.
On the other hand, some time communities are made for the wrong reasons. So before you even get into why you should take the time to build an online community, let’s see why you shouldn’t build a community.
1. Money: Online communities bring money on a second level. Don’t wait to see your bank account growing after you built your community. This is not to say you can’t monetize communities, but they need time. Communities are about authenticity and transparency and you need to prove that you are the deal before you begin asking for money.
2. Fame: As we discussed before, the majority of people that join online communities are looking for online recognition (reputation economics). The purpose of your community is to give reputation to them and not to you.
3. Time: Getting a community up and running needs time. In addition, people are attracted to big visions. State clear your vision and let your community to take the time needed to become vibrant.
Above all, you must remember that you don’t need to be huge in order t be effective. If you are looking to grow, the best way to start is with the basics. Keep in mind where you want to go and the change that you want to make in the world, hold your vision and grow your business.